If you notice that your dog has eye inflammation or discharge, it is unlikely to be pink eye—but still needs medical attention; in today’s veterinary blog, Dr. Amber Labelle clears up some of the conjunctivitis confusion.

“Pink eye” is the common term for redness of the conjunctiva, or “white of the eye;” the medical term for this disorder is conjunctivitis. It occurs when the normally thin and transparent conjunctiva becomes very aggravated, turning pink or red when diseased.

In humans, bacteria are a common cause of “pink eye” and this ailment can be highly contagious from one person to another, spreading the disease easily (as parents of children can attest to).

Other causes of conjunctivitis in humans include allergies, viruses, and various eye diseases. Because “pink eye” is commonly caused by bacteria and treated with antibiotics, owners may be tempted to treat their dog with the same medication after noticing a pink eye in a pet. Can my dog get pink eye? - WestVet Veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Amber LabelleThis can be extremely dangerous and harmful to the dog—DO NOT give your pet any eye medication that has not been prescribed for them by a veterinarian!

In dogs, bacterial conjunctivitis or “pink eye” as diagnosed in humans, is very uncommon. There are many reasons why the white of a dog’s eye might look red, including dry eye, a scratch or trauma to the surface of the eye (corneal ulcer), glaucoma (high pressure inside the eye) and uveitis (inflammation inside the eye).

These diseases can only be diagnosed with a thorough exam from a veterinarian, and may require an examination with a veterinary ophthalmologist. If you notice the white of your dog’s eye looking pink or red, a visit to your veterinarian is in order.


If you have concerns about your pet’s eye health, a consultation with your family veterinarian is a good place to start. If your veterinarian is unavailable, WestVet is open and able to address your concerns 24 hours a day. 


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